back to article At last! A REAL use for NFC: Bonking butler bots and oven-puters

Upstart wireless data-transfer tech NFC is finally coming to some interesting devices. Not smartphones or shopping tills but TVs, speakers, washing machines and fridges, thanks to LG and Sony. LG announced this week at the CES tech extravaganza an NFC-equipped oven, fridge and robot vacuum-cleaner as part of its "Smart Thinq" …

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Bonkers

Bonking in the living room, bonking in the kitchen but alas no bonking in the bedroom yet.

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Coat

Different NFC

You need Naked Female Co-operation for that. Much less standard, and harder to configure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Different NFC

still the same risk of viruses and malware sadly

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Go

NFC labels as part of the label of a clothes garment.

NFC reader on the opening of the washing machine.

Washing machine chooses appropriate cycle based on the clothes loaded.

Job done !!!

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Anonymous Coward

Except when you have the de facto, cover your ass "Dry Clean only" which for 90% of the things they stick on these days is utter crap.

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And really, who needs it

RFID tags in your socks, underwear, t-shirts etc? Are they really necessary?

In our house we use basically two of the wash cycles available on the machine, one for clothes and another (hotter one) for towels and bedding. Very occasionally we also use the "hand wash" cycle for woollens etc.

How would having the machine tell me what cycle I should be using really enhance my life?

Similarly, I can figure out what to do with three eggs and half a pack of slightly-out-of-date bacon without my fridge telling me.

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jai
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Re: And really, who needs it

RFID tags in your socks, underwear, t-shirts etc? Are they really necessary?

but it does save your mum having to sow your name in to them. you just need to use your smart phone to find your clothes in the school lockeroom.

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Re: And really, who needs it

but it does save your mum having to sow your name in to them.

Actually, you may be on to something there. Maybe RFID technology could be used to create an automatic sorter for use in communal institutional laundries (prisons, healthcare settings, uniformed trades etc) to get the right garments back to the right person after laundering.

Nothing to do with NFC, though. And I recall that when I worked for a week or two in a car factory the uniforms were bar-coded for much the same purpose already.

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Re: And really, who needs it

Indeed. 90% of washes are "cold-short."

However, using NFC to control bluetooth headset/audio pairing would be great. Also for syncing. Yes, I want to charge my phone, no I don't want to open iphoto every time I plug it in.

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Stop

Uh....no.

NFC labels as part of the label of a clothes garment.

NFC reader on the opening of the washing machine.

Washing machine chooses appropriate cycle based on the clothes loaded.

----

You're joking, right? The washing machine is going to choose cold water gentle cycle EVERY TIME if you randomly drop stuff in there expecting the washing machine to figure it out.

I could see this if the NFC tag only served as a way of making sure the cycle you chose is appropriate for the clothing, but even then you'll have problems. Anyone who thinks they can put anything together that has the same washing instructions is probably walking around with a few little snags in some articles of clothing caused by them being washed in the same load with something that has a big zipper (i.e., washing jeans and t-shirts together = bad idea for this reason) Are the NFC tags going to deal with this as well? They could, but the potential privacy issues walking around with NFC tags on every article of clothing are not worth saving a couple minutes once a week when you do the wash.

I still think NFC is a solution looking for a problem - it's "cool tech" that geeks like, but average people are left scratching their heads and wondering why people keep talking about it when it doesn't solve any real problems in a big way. It's like wireless charging. It's cool, but only saves a couple seconds that it takes to plug in your device, and creates new problems (carrying that charging mat with you when you travel)

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"half a pack of slightly-out-of-date bacon"

Bacon goes out of date ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And really, who needs it

"no I don't want to open iphoto every time I plug it in."

Don't use Crapple, Done!

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WTF?

Bong my phone to sync, WHY?

Explain how this is an improvement on Bluetooth syncing?

I sync my phone to my car radio. When I get in my car, should I get a call it turns off the radio and I answer the phone with a button on the steering wheel. Completely seamless after the first time, where I had to sync my phone.

Walk into my conservatory and on to the media player on my phone, press play and my music doc plays music from the speakers. completely wireless and I can do this from about 5m away not 5mm away.

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Re: Bong my phone to sync, WHY?

It wouldn't replace the bluetooth, it would act as the initial negotiation and handshaking for it (as the article says). So in your examples it would do the first time sync by just a tap, rather than messing around with pin codes etc. And it would probably be the equivalent of your pressing play in the second one.

For pre-arranged repeat connections that are already there then the re-pairing would probably be done much as it already is, but if this was combined with something like wireless charging then your whole car scenario could consist of taking your phone and putting it down on a special NFC/charge pad. Thus the phone knows it's in the car and can set itself up accordingly, the two can link together for voice and data streaming (sat nav, music library, maybe even net access via 3/4G) and the phone can charge.

And at the end all you'd need to do is pick the phone up, and it could then revert back to its normal profile for hand-held use.

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FAIL

Vapourware time

"while a phone tapped against the fridge can present recipe suggestions based on what's in the appliance."

So every single item, including your fruit & veg, has to have a RFID tag, that automatically updates to allow for you using half a pack, and then come up with the great idea of sausages on their own (as the bread is in a different vendors bread bin) and the sauce is in the non RFID cupboard.

Welcome to the new RFID waste mountain.

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Re: Vapourware time

I agree. In addition they really haven't followed this through.

I get a recipe that involves the current contents of the fridge (sausages, bacon, yogurt and half eaten banana) and cook it up.

I eat half of it and put the other half in the fridge. What's it going to do about THAT?

And is it going to tell me about the Vindaloo that I bought 3 weeks ago and forgot to eat that is now nestling quietly at the back cooking up an entire civilisation of little monsters?

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Re: Vapourware time

And the kids drank all the milk and put the empty carton back in the fridge. The wilted salad makings that you would have noticed if you had had a look still show up as good on the phone.

Do you have a new chore where someone has to update the inventory each day... kind of defeats the idea.

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Being a paranoid(ish) type ...

... I tend to always have the NFC, Bluetooth, etc. turned off and the screen lock/code enabled. So that is always a bit of a barrier to this kind of potential convenience. Am I overly paranoid? Seems that, with this kind of thing, someone's phone must be becoming an ever more attractive thing for a ner-do-well to want to get their hands on ...

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jai
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Re: Being a paranoid(ish) type ...

and they don't even have to get their hands on it. they just need to brush past you close enough to leech all your NFC-available data (credit cards, address book, contents of fridge) without you even noticing.

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Anonymous Coward

recipe suggestions based on what's in the appliance

So, based on what's in my fridge right now I can expect a recipe for a beer and Tequila omelette? I can't wait.

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jai
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trying desperately to find a use for NFC

This all sounds a bit desperate to me. They've got this tech, it's great, but people aren't using it enough, so they're desperately trying to find more uses for it.

Like the fridge idea:

while a phone tapped against the fridge can present recipe suggestions based on what's in the appliance

but how does the fridge know what is inside it?

LG reckons barcode-reading software on a smartphone

So... why the need for any NFC in the fridge? if i've scanned the barcodes via my phone, then my phone knows what's in the fridge and can suggest recipes without needing to go anywhere near the kitchen. and when none of them appeal (beer + eggs + cadbury's cream eggs is a challenge even for Heston Blumenthal) then i'll just order from Dominos via the phone instead. don't need to leave the sofa at all until the doorbell rings, and more importantly, never needed to make use of NFC at all.

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Screen on a fridge

You could use this with a camera to check that the light really does go out when you close the door.

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Absence of raison d'etre

The idea of "connected"/"smart"/"automated" home is to minimise the amount of manual stuff that one needs to do when living in such home. However, in reality all it does is increasing the need for manual intervention and maintenance + requiring remembering how is everything connected and how to operate it. It's OK for a nuclear power station but not something I want to see in my home.

Maintaining and updating the fridge database, remembering which mobile phone and which app to use if I just want to turn the lights on in the bathroom, doing regular drills just to keep my currency on the washing machine interface, arguing with the hi-fi about music tastes is just something I don't want at home.

For every bit of these "innovations" which require me to learn yet another proprietary procedure to supposedly save me few seconds of my time 5 times a day there is already a simpler and cheaper, tried and tested solution of "getting my arse off the chair and pressing a button".

I know that some people like these trinkets and gadgets but I also know that in most cases, once the immediate novelty has worn off, the stuff gets forgotten, ignored, broken and unused.

We are a long way from the sci-fi home AIs which know and control everything that is happening inside a house and double up as your secretary, travel agent and legal advisor. And somehow I think we will never quite get there on the basis of consumer interest alone - because it will always be cost-ineffective and inefficient.

Perhaps, on space stations or in some mega-cities, where the cost of giving residents freedom to live as they like will outweigh the cost of systems imposing environmental control on them?

"No, sir, you can't make another sandwich - it will be unhealthy for you and, besides, it will exceed your monthly bacon ration"... "I am pleased to inform you, sir, that I have switched off the heating for today - my calculations show that the sweater you were allocated last week will keep you quite comfortable as it is"...

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FAIL

"""Innovation""" sponsored by SONY

$DEITY-forbid!!!!!

If you don't know why, then Google is your friend.

Just ask it about 'BMG rootkit fiasco'.

Then you will understand my apprehension of anything SONY is involved with.

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Anonymous Coward

BOB < BBB

Bonking Butler Bot?

There I was thinking that they'd upgraded the "Battery Operated Boyfriend" to mix you a drink beforehand.

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Checkout List by Bonk

Why can't you bonk the card or receipt terminal & get a list of all the items you purchased then bonk it on the refrigerator when you get home to upload the data?

You'd need to be able to convientely remove items that aren't food of course but overall it seems doable.

If anybody reading this gets rich from the concept I'd really appreciate a neat, reasonably priced new car :)

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